In an article in the Globe and Mail, John Ibbitson, very rightly, pays tribute to David and Sharon Johnston ~ they have, indeed, been gracious and stalwart vice-regal couple. Mr Ibbitson concludes by asking “Who will replace him? The choice of governor-general,” he explains “is a closely guarded secret that, to this writer’s knowledge, has never been leaked. But we can speculate on what Mr. Trudeau is looking for in his first federal viceregal appointment … [but] … By the rule of rotation, the next governor-general should be a francophone. He or she will probably be younger, to reflect the youthful image that this government likes to project. Mr. Trudeau would no doubt like to choose a woman, to reflect the gender balance that Mr. Trudeau established in his cabinet. Since Jeanne Sauvé was appointed in 1984, Canada has had three female and three male GGs … [and] … No doubt the Prime Minister would very much like to nominate Canada’s first Indigenous governor-general. In the past, this proved difficult. It was said that Mr. Harper very much wanted to appoint an Indigenous governor-general in the wake of his landmark apology for the abuses of the residential school system. The trouble has been the difficulty in finding a distinguished Indigenous Canadian who is fully bilingual … [therefore] … Ideally, then, the next governor-general will be a bilingual, female, Indigenous francophone. Whoever they may be, however, the Queen’s 29th representative will not easily surpass their predecessor’s calm wisdom and steady assurance. We owe a debt to Champlain’s latest heir.“
The government’s insistence that the highest offices in the land “reflects “the country’s bilingual character,”” has already raised problems in finding a new Supreme Court justice from amongst members of Canada’s indigenous community and might, I suspect, disqualify e.g. Senator and Justice Murray Sinclair.
But the PM need look no father than Parliament Hill for a distinguished, even inspiring, bilingual, French Canadian woman: Chantal Petitclerk.
She, herself is reported to have considered if “Her impossibly high cheekbones [mean] she has aboriginal ancestry in her past. She would like that, but all she knows for sure is she’s a “bit of Irish” on her mother’s side, and her father’s side came from France in 1630.” There was considerable inter-marriage between settlers and First Nations peoples in 17th and 18th century French Canada but race ought not be a “requirement” for judges or the GG ~ if she can put a check-mark in the “diversity” or “ethnic” or “First nations” box then so much the better but Chantal Petitclerk is, despite gender, linguistic heritage or race, a Great Canadian based on nothing more than her own accomplishments, on and off the sports-field.